Monday, 28 November 2016

Roald Dahl’s Great Missenden

If you can't find me here, there's a chance I might be writing at Fine Books and Collections, a fantastic magazine that I discovered half a decade ago, always a great inspiration and resource not only of books, but of literary travels as well. Early last month, I wrote about James Joyce's "Years of Bloom" in Trieste, Italy, one of the places we travelled to during the summer.

Last week, I wrote about Roald Dahl's Great Missenden, which we first visited in 2011 when we were only three in the family. F B and C Editor Rebecca Rego Barry published this post to coincide with Dahl's 26th death anniversary.

Walder, Roald Dahl's Great Missenden, Danny the Champion of the World
"In Roald Dahl’s writing nook that’s preserved behind glass, we find ucky-mucky and strange things similar to what our grandparents might have possessed. There is what appears to be a cannonball that is in fact made from hundreds of silver foil chocolate wrappers, presumably Cadbury Dairy Milk, which he ate every day while working in London.
                                                                                                                                                                       No doubt Dahl loved his chocolate, and he devoted a chapter to it in The Roald Dahl Cookbook. In it he charted a ‘history of chocolate,’ seven glorious years that started from Crunchie in 1930 to Kit Kat in 1937 (as someone with Norwegian parentage, it would have been interesting to hear his thoughts on Kit Kat vs. Kvikk Lunsj). I overheard a young boy looking for “Dahl’s bone” and that would indeed sound gruesome if you didn’t know he meant a piece of Dahl’s femur bone, removed during one of his hip replacement operations, now a paperweight. Dahl also had a glass bottle containing shavings from his spine, from several operations on his back to ease wartime injury problems. These objects were once housed in Dahl’s writing hut at the bottom of his garden in Great Missenden. They were in the inner part of the hut where Dahl wrote his books, which was transferred to the nearby Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre a few years ago."
Continue reading here.

We might do this every five years but seeing how they grow up so quickly might make me cry each time.

Walder, Roald Dahl's Great Missenden, replica writing chair
Sat in a replica of Roald Dahl's writing chair, of course I wore my pyjamas!
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Sunday, 27 November 2016

A Fairy Garden

Walder The Gaslight House A fairy garden
A fairy garden or meadow? Trimmed it a little bit (bottom right photo), hope it doesn't get angry.

Mike travels so much for work and ever the doting husband and father, he has to bring home presents for us, it's just his nature. Cheeky little M now expects something whenever the dad is back from a trip. So cheeky is she that even if it's obvious I'm her favourite and would cuddle me first before her dad, whenever he is away, M would always say she misses her daddy and wishes he was home. I would tell her then that she was only looking forward to a present. I, the ever practical one, took note of her wants and suggested to Mike that if I get them on the internet in advance, we could pretend that they were presents back from her daddy's trips. That way, we are very sure we are getting her something from her wish list and not just some random present that would just be forgotten the next day, although that’s mostly the case about her stuff (sorry M if you will read this in the future, but you know we love you any which way we show it).

This fairy garden (in photo) was one of those presents we pretended Mike got from Bulgaria or Serbia or France, see I couldn't even remember now as he was away a lot recently. It took months before we got to assemble and plant it, specifically on Halloween, as you would see it beside our carved pumpkin, courtesy of Mike. As it is an indoor garden we thought it would be all right planting it towards the end of autumn. Well, I didn't believe it would grow, to be honest, as I don't remember ever successfully growing anything from seeds. But we started seeing the grass only after a week. It is really sweet.

Less than two weeks after we planted it, the whole garden was a meadow and I decided to trim it a little bit, insisting to M that her lazy fairy wouldn't mow the lawn (bottom right photo) and just hoped that it wouldn't get angry and stop growing. I've trimmed it two more times since and so far it's still growing.

Included in the box were a fairy garden bowl, fairy and mouse figurines, oyster shell, sparkly cottage, clothes line with posts and pegs (I replaced them with the coloured ones I've got), carpet for the cottage, grass seed, coloured gravel, mushroom, flowers and dust (again I've added some more of these stars and moon from my own supply). The kit has some negative reviews online, mostly due to the fact that there were a lot of items broken or missing. I guess we were lucky to have got a fairly good kit.

We bought our own compost and every day when we check, it is a bit dry so we try to remember to keep it moist. So far the garden is doing fine and our little girl is happy. If you plan to get one, do so and enjoy it, and don't be afraid to give it a drink!

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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Smurfs – The Graphic Novels

Walder_image from Smurfs Anthology 1 The Graphic Novels
image from Smurfs Anthology 1 The Graphic Novels
My husband and I take turns reading to our six-year-old at night. One of the books we are reading is Smurfs Anthology 1 (The Graphic Novels). I wondered if J.K. Rowling also read The Smurfs after I read this story that starts with Gargamel planning transmuting metals into gold and mentioning the philosopher’s stone and mandrakes in the same scene (read his monologue in the picture). The Smurfs is one of those stories that were made popular worldwide by television (at least from my point of view who knew them on TV). When I was a child there was no one to tell me that they first appeared in print (comics). And as Peyo, who created them, is not of the current generation, I’m not surprised he’s not as famous as, e.g., J.K. Rowling, though I wish he was.

Walder_My daughter at Moof (Museum of Original Figurines) in Brussels, Belgium back in August, 2015
My daughter at Moof (Museum of Original Figurines) in
Brussels, Belgium back in August, 2015
I remember my childhood in the late '80s and back then we were not allowed to watch television whenever we liked and in that large, confined lot where we left our doors open and anyone would come and go as they pleased, the children in the neighbourhood (most of whom were also my cousins), would call for every child whenever something interesting was on the telly and we would all watch together. In a way we were monitoring what each of us watched, at the same time saving electricity. Oh we watched a lot of children’s programmes together, Astroboy, Plastic Man, The Smurfs, Superfriends, Batibot (never Sesame Street, I don’t know why), Mighty Man and Yukk and a whole lot more.

Both my husband and I loved Smurfs as children, even if we grew up in two different countries. I’m a bit late in reading the graphic novels but in a way I’m glad, I think I appreciate the humour more as an adult. And it's lovely to discover them now with my daughter, and later with my son. My daughter is so crazy about the characters, the cartoon, the films and the books. And I’m sure she will feel the same decades from now.
Walder_image from Smurfs Anthology 1 The Graphic Novels
image from Smurfs Anthology 1 The Graphic Novels
Please contact The Gaslight House if you'd like to use this article and image/s.
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